Genesee Land Trust staff photo

Protect Your Land

Everyone conserves their land for different reasons, but they all have something in common: they have a deep connection to their land.

By discussing your cherished property with us and the potential for its conservation, together we can assess the protection opportunities that best fit you and your property’s resources, your financial or charitable objectives, and your vision for the future of your land.

Check out the different options below. If you have questions, please contact Lorna at lwright@geneseelandtrust.org or (585) 256-2130 to learn more about how to protect your land, land in your community, and be a part of keeping our region special for future generations.

Create a Nature Preserve

We wouldn’t be here without landowners who care about the future of their land and community.

Depending on the nature of your land and your interest, we will work together to consider the long-term intentions for your land. To create a nature preserve, we generally focus on conserving land that could welcome the public and give visitors experiences with natural habitat and conservation.  

A gift of land is one of the most generous legacies a landowner can make to future generations. Your land may become an ambassador for nature inviting the public to visit for enjoyment and recreation with trails and other amenities. Or your land can provide maximum funding for other Genesee Land Trust land conservation projects and programs if you donate it as a trade land that intended to be resold.  

For information on preserving your land, please contact Genesee Land Trust Director of Conservation Programs, Lorna Wright, at (585) 256-2130 or lwright@geneseelandtrust.org.

 The Maguire Family Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario. Genesee Land Trust staff photo.

The Maguire Family Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario. Genesee Land Trust staff photo.

Do you wonder what will happen to your land when you are not there to care for it? How can you know that future land owners will respect the wildlife and their vulnerable habitat, will continue to be inspired by the majestic trees, or just care that there is a little wilderness in the neighborhood? 

A conservation easement may be an option worthy of consideration.

A conservation easement is a voluntary and perpetual legal agreement between a private property owner and a land trust that permanently restricts development of the property and protects the unique character of the land. Conservation easements can be written that permit agriculture, forestry, recreation, and other open space uses.

Conservation easements are flexible and tailored to meet the natural characteristics of the land and the landowner's needs. 

For many landowners, the most important benefit of donating a conservation easement is knowing that the land they hold dear will retain its character as natural or working lands for generations to come. 

For others, their desire to protect the land is to honor the history of the land and generations who have come before.    

For the community, conservation easements help to protect natural habitat, working farms, and important landscapes that provide the space and homes that wildlife need, the land for local foods and farm businesses, and the natural benefits of clean air and waters.  

For information on donating a conservation easement, please contact Genesee Land Trust Director of Conservation Programs, Lorna Wright, at (585) 256-2130 or lwright@geneseelandtrust.org.

 The Hassett Greenspace Conservation Easement in Victor. Genesee Land Trust staff photo.

The Hassett Greenspace Conservation Easement in Victor. Genesee Land Trust staff photo.

Protect your farm

Are you thinking about the options for your farm? As a farmer, you know the unique value of your land, its resources, its history, and the time and care you spend on good stewardship. You may have a great concern for its future.

You are invited to consider if conservation can meet your personal goals and your vision for the land partnering with Genesee Land Trust.

Selling the Development Rights on your Farm

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets funds the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) through a very competitive grant process. 

Genesee Land Trust acts as the local applicant for many farms in the greater Rochester area (Monroe and Wayne Counties and northern towns in Ontario County).  To date, Genesee Land Trust, together with individual farmers and local towns, has successfully protected more than 3000 acres through this program. 

When you sell your Development Rights, you will receive cash for the value of the development rights that are:

  • Extinguished by the terms of an agricultural conservation easement
  • Recorded at the County Clerk’s office in the permanent record and “runs with the land” so future landowners must follow the terms as well
  • Removed so that the land will not be available to “grow houses” in the future.

You will still own your land and be able to:

  • Sell or give away the land to others but the terms of the easement must still be followed
  • Continue to farm as you have
  • Change your farming practices to meet new market situations
  • Maintain your private property rights
 Apples from the Wilbert Farm, Town of Walworth, protected through a Purchase of Development Rights. Photo by Nigel P. Kent.

Apples from the Wilbert Farm, Town of Walworth, protected through a Purchase of Development Rights. Photo by Nigel P. Kent.

Donating the Development Rights on Your Farm

For some individual landowners, donating the development rights or a conservation easement on their farmland can meet their vision of protected land for generations to come.

When you donate your development rights, you can receive tax benefits for the development rights that are:

  • Extinguished by the terms of an agricultural conservation easement
  • Recorded at the County Clerk’s office in the permanent record and “runs with the land” so future landowners must follow the terms as well
  • Removed so that the land will not be available to “grow houses” in the future

You will still own your land and be able to:

  • Sell or give away the land to others but the terms of the easement must still be followed
  • Continue to farm as you have  
  • Change your farming practices to meet new market situations
  • Maintain your private property rights and control your land

What are the tax benefits of donating a conservation easement on your farm?

Federal Income Tax Deduction: Donations of conservation easements may qualify as a charitable tax deduction on the donor’s federal income tax return and receive an enhanced tax benefit that:

  • Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement to 50%, from the typical 30%, of his or her annual income
  • Extends the carry-forward period for a donor to take tax deductions for a voluntary conservation agreement from 5 to 15 years, and
  • Allows qualifying farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of their income

Property Tax Credit: The New York State Conservation Easement Tax Credit offers taxpayers whose land is restricted by a donated conservation easement an annual New York State income tax credit of up to 25% of the school district, county, and town real estate taxes paid on the restricted land, up to an annual maximum of $5,000 per taxpayer.

For information on preserving your farm, please contact Genesee Land Trust Director of Conservation Programs, Lorna Wright, at (585) 256-2130 or lwright@geneseelandtrust.org.